Sunday, December 28, 2008

AS I LAY DRYING

My lids are red, almost translucent in this lucid December sun. I hear the soft shush, shush of the swell between the rocks, and feel the warmth of the sun, and its bite. I realise i will be prickly with sunburn tomorrow. But the heat is so relaxing my muscles have lapsed into a dream state. And i don't wish to wake them.

Yesterday i applied for a job as a journalist in Airlie Beach, Queensland, with The Whitsunday Times. No, not the Sunday Times - The Whitsunday Times. This is a subtle, yet vital distinction. Because the Whitsunday Islands are exotic, are far away, and have remote beaches. Mmm. The Whitsundays. I'd need a yacht. And perhaps there i can finally get away from it all. Perhaps there i can finally escape my past and stop running for a while.

So how do you think it feels
sleeping by yourself
when the one you love, the one you love
is with someone else

then it's a wide open road
its a wide open road
and now you can go any place
that you wish to go

- David McComb


But deep down i know the memories will follow in my wake, and when i stop she will once again wash over me. Getting away from it all on some remote beach. It's a romantic notion; and like most romantic notions, it will never work. Because on whichever beach i lay on - and today i'm laying on a warm rock off Mistaken Island - it is never remote enough. Wherever i am, the beach is right there under me. There is no escape.

Mistaken Island - a metaphor for my journey these past two and a half years, trying to forget, trying to push myself and my work out beyond the edge. And now today i have discovered i am not a photographer at all. I am merely a camera demolition expert. I have destroyed yet another Nikon, this time by dropping it onto Sarah's head as we climbed down from above the wheelhouse on the Cheynes II. She did a sterling job of breaking its fall, but as it hit the deck the back came open, ruining my last roll of film. The camera no longer works. Deja voodoo. I remember picking up another F3, also minus its back, its spoiled film spilling out like goat entrails out onto the highway near Ravensthorpe. Only a couple of weeks back. And the D70 ... well, best not to even think about that one. Suffice to say it's gone too. That makes four cameras lost, broken or completely destroyed since October. Ouch. I heard a theory, through a friend of a friend, that i am subconsciously destroying all my cameras because i don't value my skills as a photographer. Perhaps that's what happened in my relationship with Mili X. Perhaps i didn't value my skills. Or perhaps i'm just really stupid and clumsy.

Either way, i'm working on a deal with The Newspaper to acquire their stash of old Nikon film cameras, which are languishing and collecting dust, in a steel cabinet in the subs' room. A whole bunch of them. Which is good, because at this rate, i'm going to need them.

Just as we were about to push off from the Cheynes II, we suddenly realised it was a giant mussel farm. Never averse to a feed of those tasty morsels, we filled a third of a bucket in no time flat; Morgan, Catherine, Sarah and i pulled them from the hull where they were clustered between the high and low tide marks. Then Sarah piloted the boat around the coastline, past Fisheries, to the lee side of the peninsula and Mistaken Island, where we anchored and swam. I had only boxers. "Don't laugh," i instructed my fellow drifters as i prepared to dive into those crystal clear waters. "Oh, no," said Catherine, "We'll only laugh when you get out." Hmm. The shrinkage factor. I dive in.

Lying, drying, salt taut on my skin. Sarah and Catherine are stretched out on another rock somewhere on the island, while Morgan is fossicking about, swimming, and calling to his mum. The quietude and sunshine is bliss. I roll onto my stomach and start toasting my back. Perhaps i should stay put in Albany for a while, with its warm weather and stunning beaches. I'm earning good money now, as production editor. And Melinda Mayhem will be back from New York by the end of the week, unless they agree to extend her US visa - and even the US Government is not that crazy. Last time she flew from Manhattan straight to the mangroves and spent three months working in Carnarvon, where i broke her in as a journalist. If i remember rightly i was wearing spurs at the time.

"I'm thinking of coming down to Albany from New York," Mayhem says. "Can you find me a job? I mean, why break with tradition? We'll save some money, Art Director, and head for Europe. Go on."

Perhaps that's what i need to break this spell. My muse. I'm hot, and i'm dry. I wade out into the crystal clear waters for another swim. Fuck the X. Bring on the here and now.

6 comments:

miCheLLeBLOG said...

One of the best car stickers I ever saw said "Wherever you go, there you are". Too true.

I'd like to know what dropping a camera onto Sarah Toa's head symbolises. I'll have to think about that one.

sarah toa said...

Something prompts me to throw up my arms in spite of everything and say YAY!

sarah toa said...

In spite of the 'current economic climate', that is.

Mark Roy said...

i like the climate. i've been wearing shorts and sandals.

Juice said...

Mark thats a delicious swag of camera's pictured there!

You know I could see a Alex Garland quote in that post somewhere. No beach is perfect.
Which, if this is true then you miht as well stick to the one you got..

Anonymous said...

ooh nikon f4!!! please one for me!!!!
Regards
Christian